Showing off shear confidence

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Samantha Poche', 10, has her hair cut for Locks of Love by Jason Keller at Evolve Gallery art and hair salon.
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Samantha Poche', 10, has her hair cut for Locks of Love by Jason Keller at Evolve Gallery art and hair salon.

A couple of years ago, Samantha Poché, 10, shortened her long, light brown hair. Her mother later asked her if she thought she’d keep it that way or grow it long again.

“I said ‘I want to grow it out for Locks of Love,’” Samantha said.

She had heard about the nonprofit organization that provides children with long-term medical hair loss with hairpieces.

“I saw it made other people happy ... and so I wanted to do that,” Samantha said.

On Tuesday, Samantha had her hair cut short again, for a cause.

She was excited beforehand, her mother, Tricia Poché, said.

“I asked her, is it ‘butterflies’ or confidence? She said ‘confidence,’” Tricia said.

Jason Keller, owner of the Evolve Gallery, braided Samantha’s long hair into two braids, then carefully cut them off to be sent to Locks of Love. Then he styled her hair into a bouncy bob.

“That’s more hair than I’ve had for years!” Samantha’s dad Jeffrey Poché joked with his daughter as her new, short style took shape.

Being part of something bigger than herself isn’t new to Samantha.

She and her brother, Jeffrey Jr., 15, have cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems. They and their parents and brother, Frank, who will be 13 in July, and other family members and friends make up the Poché Pride team that participates in local walks and runs and bike rides for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Samantha, who will be a fifth-grader at St. Aloysius in the coming school year, said she’s going to grow her hair long again.

“I might do this again,” she said.